Rynardt van Rensburg of the Kovsies (UFS) may have the most experience in the men’s 800m field. He may be the World University 800m Bronze medallist and he may have represented South Africa at the Olympics in Rio in 2016, but he has not yet notched up a victory in 2017 despite his pedigree. Van Rensburg will be looking to change that on Friday 31 March at the Varsity Athletics Final in Pretoria.
Van Rensburg has raced three times this season and is without a win. His best result in his favourite event is the second-place finish at the first Varsity Athletics meet in Potchefstroom when he was defeated by the favourite for the final, Henco Uys from the Pukke.
The 24-year-old Honours Student in Sports Science took control of the men’s 800m race at the first Varsity Athletics meet in Potchefstroom on 3 March just before the bell and held on to win in 1:49.87 ahead of Kovsies’ Rynardt van Rensburg (1:50.49) and exciting Junior, George Kusche from Tuks (1:50.64).
Uys also won the 800m two weeks later in the ASA Speed Series, so his confidence will be sky high, although his two big protagonists, Van Rensburg and Kusche were not in that race.
Kusche will be looking for home town advantage as the 18-year-old Actuarial Science Student trains on the Tuks track under the guidance of former 800m World Indoor Champion, Johan Botha.
“George is a rare find. I cannot remember when last I saw someone so hungry and my former coach JP van der Merwe, says the same. JP says that George reminds him of a young Sepeng. Fearless, hungry and always ready to attack,” said Botha.
Both Van Rensburg and Kusche will want to exact revenge on Uys in the men’s 800m on Friday. Uys, though, will be a tough nut to crack after a season in which he is unbeaten to date. Uys holds all the cards.
By Manfred Seidler